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Sanctimonious

by Joe Woodward

© 1996/2001 Joe Woodward. First performed at The Street Theatre Studio in 1996. Original Music and lyrics also available on CD or tape.

Sanctimonious

Characters

Bede Rashamon: 50+ male retiring as CEO of D.O.S.A.

Chess Reason: female replacement who was mentored by Bede

The Kite Bird: Predatory Symbol / Messenger of Death / the force encompassing the department. Essentially a dancer with some martial arts ability.

The Setting

The Head Office for The Department of Spiritual Affirmation (DOSA) alternation with public forums where Chess Reason excels.

The walls, computer screens and television monitors depict the nightmare that is inside Bede Rashamon's head. And within the very surreal nightmare that is DOSA itself.

The Music

If possible, live music should accompany the entire play. This is not a musical, though the text is deliberately written to different beats and rhythms that can be ascertained by reading aloud. Live music will also enhance the integration of the surreal Kite Bird into the action.

Video Imagery and Animation

Most of the stage directions refer to video and computer animation that surround the live performance. This resulted from my own experimentation and provides scope for interplay between the performance and both live and pre-recorded imagery.

Sample Text

Act One

1.01

This is nightmare time. Surreal emotions coming to grips with daytime reality. We are wretched. A giant and mythic bird, similar to a predatory black Kite, watches the audience attentively from above the desk / alter of the inner sanctum. It then flies above the capital of the Republic of Can, picking up the giant tower, injecting itself then dumping the object over the city. It then returns to watch the audience. And all of this from the giant screens surrounding the room.

LIGHTS UP

on CHESS REASON at a lectern as we hear a huge applause. The walls now feature distorted though cheering souls. The cheering fades as Chess acknowledges its effect.

Chess

Thank you. Your response is gratifying. But it seems a world that is safe for people to get on with their lives is just too much for some disaffected souls. They would end the K Project and all that it has achieved.

LIGHTS UP

on BEDE on his knees. Chess's words are slightly distorted in a growing nightmare world. We hear what Bede says while Chess speaks.

Chess:

It seems such a world is somehow wrong; somehow distasteful; somehow oppressive; somehow lacking in human qualities which critics of our work would like to e-introduce. And dare I say it? Who are these critics? Who are these self appointed guardians of the human race? These fearful creatures, who fear NOT some dangerous foe who would seek to strangle their lives. NO. They FEAR those very principles of cohesion which WE have built in to our system. So who are they? Dare I say it: resurrection seed in We all know who they are. You only have to look around to see who are these pathetic creatures peddling their dysfunctional models of human behaviour. So in terms of policy and strategies, this is not the time to become shrinking violets. The question for our time is NOT whether Muggarnol should be or should not be added to the water. The question is: "How can any socially responsible Government justify NOT including the Muggarnol additive while knowing what it CAN achieve?"

Bede

The silence of dark thoughts; pending anger; the beauty of the falling tower rising dust from the ruins as the soaring kites of wisdom carry silent truths from hell to heaven. The inventions of Mother Hubbard and her skeletons in the cupboard all going down like rubble; all going down with a prick in the bubble. Messenger of Death: the bones of destruction, fly me a phoenix you fire of desire ...

After the reference to the phoenix, the Kite flies off.

 

 

Applause.

FADE OUT on lecturn.

1.02

LIGHTS UP

on Bede Rashamon in his office at The Department of Spiritual Affirmation (D.O.S.A.). It includes a desk, a chair, files, a computer terminal, and monitors. The walls are alive with his thought processes as they are projections of his mind. There is also a video camera facing towards him. He holds a remote control device he uses at various intervals and we become aware he is recording himself. His image is screened on the monitors surrounding the space.

A stylized mountain tower appears above him. Further images fade in and out of the space as he proceeds to tell his story.

Bede

If you pay attention to what I am recording, and to what I have written, you will come to understand how you, as a citizen of the Can Republic, are being duped and manipulated by the adherants to the Book of SANCTIMONY. You will further understand why I, Bede Rashamon, have had to act as I have while in this position as Chief Overseer of The Department of Spiritual Affirmation, D.O.S.A., and the instigator of the soon to be defunct K Project. You will further understand the root cause of the epidemic that is sweeping through the republic: The Can Affliction. And I speak to you now as one of its victims.

1.03

 

Flashes of gruesome and decaying people sitting at computer terminals appear at points through his speech.

Bede

The Can Affliction! Let me tell you about it. My mouth has become so decayed that a huge hole has been burned through to my nostrils into my cranium. And through this hole, my brain has slowly begun to seep down and mesh with the snot from my nose and the saliva from my mouth to become osmosified, then slowly swallowed down the back of my throat and into my stomach at which point it is broken down by enzymes and digested into my system; the nutrients extracted and disseminated via my blood through my arteries and veins into my muscles. The rest broken down into waste products and ejected through my bowels and bladder. But as my brain flows into my arteries, the red blood cells are further digested: leaving me an anaemic wreck; chronically exhausted, lifeless!

He occasionally reaches over to the computer and clicks on a site which illustrates some of the points he is making.

Bede

How did I come to this predicament: digesting my own brain and blood? How could such a hing be possible? This Can Affliction? Well, I'll tell you.

****************

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